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The Baker’s Dozen: Relocation

Our annual list of the top 13 end-to-end relocation providers.

by Denise Doig

Click here for the PDF version.

Its time again for The Bakers Dozen HRO Today’s annual list of the top 13 full-service relocation providers and, undoubtedly, one of our most talked-about lists of the year. Each time that we update one of the magazines annual lists, we try to include extra elements that add value for the reader by not only making the data more accurate but also providing additional data. This years Bakers Dozen is no exception.

The first year we published The Bakers Dozen, we interviewed 10 of the largest relocation providers for their impressions on market size and their top competitors. The list was received with much fanfare and some criticism (mostly from those relocation providers clamoring to be included in next years list.) The second year we published The Bakers Dozen, we interviewed 18 of the largest relocation providers and their clients, and asked them to provide data both on their relocation numbers and on those of their top competitors. The list was again received with much fanfare, readers especially like the input from users of the services and once again, some criticism. This time, it seemed that providers agreed with the overall rankings, but some still felt their total number of relocations were underestimated (a challenge in a market where little data is published and estimates can be off by a factor of 300 to 500 percent.)

So this year, our third year, we added yet a few more elements to the mix to try to come up with the most comprehensive, accurate data on the largest full-service relocation providers. 

First, we surveyed 23 of the largest relocation providers, identified through research of databases such as Hoovers and Dun & Bradstreet and relocation publications. 

Second, we asked relocation providers to provide us not only their relocation numbers but also to rank their top 10 to 15 competitors both in terms of number of yearly full-service relocations and in terms of average market size. (The table below explains how that data was used to come up with our final list of top 13 providers.) Our thanks to the many companies who were kind enough to share their in-depth market research, sometimes in the form of very large and complicated Excel spreadsheets! 

Third, we once again surveyed clients of these top relocation providers for their input on the providers best services, challenges facing HR executives in charge of relocation, and trends in the relocation market. We also asked the buyers and the providers what metrics they were using to track their relocation services.


All of this work, we hope, adds up to an even more comprehensive, accurate, and useful ranking of the top relocation providers for our readers. So without further ado, on to our third-annual ranking of The Bakers Dozen.


               

1. CENDANT MOBILITY
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 115,000           
www.cendantmobility.com

For more than 50 years, Cendant has provided relocation services to corporate, government, and military clients. With a global presence across four continents, Cendant offers employee relocation helping individuals sell and purchase homes, transporting personal belongings, move management, temporary housing, and settling in a new location. And with a new office in Shanghai, they are expanding their scope throughout the Asian marketplace.

Services: Supporting more than 2,000 clients worldwide. Offer consulting, intercultural training, mobility management, global supplier management, reporting, program administration, and technology solutions for move management. Support for international and domestic relocation includes home sale and home marketing assistance, household goods shipment, property rental management, closing services, home finding and destination assistance, rental assistance, mortgage services, expense administration, policy counseling, consulting, and group move management. Specialized expertise in cross-cultural and language training and global workforce development. Integrated, scalable technology to support international assignment compensation. Relocation management services to membership organizations (members receive assistance with home finding and purchasing, home listing and selling, and moving and mortgage services.)

Most Important Metric: Cendant’s most important metric is simple: whatever metric is most important to their customers. That customer-driven metric varies from client to client. While delivery of outstanding client and customer service is an understood given in any service business, clients key priorities vary depending on their organizational culture and business objectives. For some, it may be controlling costs or delivering cost saving recommendations. For others, it will be integrity, flexibility, or the ability to service a broad global footprint. Cendant uses a rigorous Six Sigma process to identify the critical-to-quality (CTQ) deliverables for each client. Looking at the input overall, the key CTQs for 2004 were: Accessibility, being able to communicate real time with account management through phone or e-mail; Responsiveness responding to client requests for data, reports, updates, etc., in an agreed upon time frame; and Keeping Promises do what you say you are going to do all the time.

 

 

2. PRUDENTIAL REAL ESTATE & RELOCATION SERVICES
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 45,225     
www.prudential.com

Prudential provides global mobility management under their real estate network umbrella. They are involved in domestic and

global corporate relocation, military and government relocation, and consulting.

Services: Domestic Consulting, concierge, partner assistance, policy development, cost accounting, amended value sales, buyer value option, guaranteed home sale, home finding, mortgage, marketing, policy counseling, rental, temp living, and transition management. Global Consulting, candidate assessment, intercultural and language training, global workforce development, compensation administration, cost projections and management, ongoing assignment support, policy counseling, repatriation and reassignment, destination services, education consulting, partner assistance, tenancy management, visa and immigration, short-term assignments, global business briefings, and mortgage. Received high marks for their intercultural training, inventory management, home sale program, policy counseling, program administration global consulting, reporting capabilities, customer service, accessibility and

problem resolution, and realtor base.

Most Important Metric: Client retention (based on customer satisfaction and cost-effectiveness).

 

3. SIRVA
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 43,213     
www.sirva.com

With customized end-to-end relocation and moving services, SIRVA operates in 40 countries and has various partnerships in more than 175 countries. Their recent addition of a client technologies group will provide SIRVA customers with dedicated technology solutions and support. The end of 2004 saw the acquisition of Executive Relocation into the SIRVA network, creating a stronger platform for their services.

Services: Consulting Benchmarking, policy evaluation, cost analysis, program development. Relocation Management Expense management and tax evaluation; group move; internal training; lump-sum benefit administration; Web-based reporting and financial services; quarterly financial review; SLAs; lease cancellation; property management; appraisal values; home finding, marketing, buying, and selling; moving. Departure, home marketing, lease cancellation, agent recommendations, management. Destination Counseling, orientation, home finding, rental, temp living, partner career assistance, concierge. Global Solutions assignment planning and administration, relocation and repatriation, compensation and payroll, tax services.

Most Important Metric: Customer service and performance metrics top SIRVAs list. Their lean Six Sigma quality-assurance

program includes a dashboard of metrics developed for each customer. Through a series of Voice of the Customer roundtables, SIRVA determines which metrics are critical for each customer. Their customized reports are tracked internally and reviewed often with customers. This is a key metric that contributes to their 98 percent customer retention rate. In addition, other important metrics include relocation expense reduction realized for clients through detailed policy review and recommendations as well as the implementation of proprietary products and cost efficient processes.

 

4. WEICHERT RELOCATION RESOURCES INC.
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 24,900    
www.wrri.com

After experiencing its best year yet, Weichert continues to hold its own in the relocation market. The independently owned company provides service in more than 120 countries, offering a broad portfolio of capabilities, extensive global resources, enterprise-wide service, and integrated technology. Part of the larger Weichert Affiliated Companies serving the finance and real estate sectors, WRRI has a client roster of more than 500 customers.

Services: Assignment management; consulting; cross-cultural and language training; cost-of-living analysis; destination services; lump-sum and financial administration; gross-up processing; group move; home finding, marketing, and sale; household goods and inventory management; mortgage; payroll; policy consulting; property management; rental; repatriation; spouse career services; supplier management; tax services; temp living; tenancy management; visa and immigration.

Most Important Metric: Employee/client satisfaction and year-to-year client cost reduction.

 

5. PRIMACY RELOCATION
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 23,394    
www.primacy.com

With solutions that reach from the Americas, across Europe, and into Asia Pacific, Primacys sole focus is on global relocation. Primacy provides a host of services in all three regions. They are a GSA certified supplier of relocation services to federal government agencies and have recently opened an office in Washington, DC, to solidify their presence within this sector.

Services: Corporate Program, policy consulting, cost projections, immigration, compensation/tax/payroll, expense audit reimbursement, repatriation, reporting. Real Estate home sale, property management, leasing. Destination, culture programs, cost of living analysis, orientation, temp housing. HR Consulting, policy development, candidate assignment, global business assignment, spousal programs, risk management, benefit administration.

Most Important Metric: Client rating of value provided.

 

6. ROYAL LEPAGE RELOCATION SERVICES
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 17,000     
www.rlrs.com

Based in Canada, Royal LePage has been in business for almost 100 years, with 40 years spent in the relocation sector. They are Canadas only full-service relocation organization providing mobility management for corporations and government agencies, supporting individual moves, and managing assignment solutions.

Services: Consultingpolicy; group move; market, location, and property studies. Departurehome marketing and sale (with guaranteed buyout program); moving coordination. Destinationhome search and purchase assistance; rental; temp living; education, elder care, career, and community connection programs. International relocation programs including orientation and training. Accounting and administrative funds management and invoicing, supplier management, performance reporting.

Most Important Metric: Customer satisfaction, transferee satisfaction, and cost/policy goals.

 

7. GMAC GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 12,812    
www.gmacglobalrelocation.com

With a network that connects through global service centers and relationships in more than 100 countries, GMAC is one of the leaders in global corporate relocation and assignment management services. As a division of GMAC Home Services, the relocation arm is part of the greater General Motors family. GMAC provides domestic relocation program management, global assignment services, and strategic consultancy. More importantly, GMAC provides the tools and technology to allow clients access to current status reports on every employee in the GMAC system. In 2004, GMAC signed a three-year contract renewal with Hewlett-Packard to provide relocation services for HP employees and their families in more than 50 countries.

Services: Global supply chain management and transition management of assignees. Consultingresearch, policy development, joint venture, M&A, workforce reduction, other HR. Domesticcomprehensive program management for departure and destination including financial administration, plus GM vehicle assistance, mortgage, and credit services. Internationalrange of services for host and home locations to more than 110 countries.

Most Important Metric: 97 percent overall client satisfaction rating for 2004.

 

8. AMERICORP GLOBAL RELOCATION
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 12,625    
www.americorp.com

With partnerships in more than 150 countries, AmeriCorp handles full-service relocation services anywhere in the world, including assistance with departure, destination, logistics, and administration. Using their own software capabilitiesStrategic Technology Application for RelocationAmeriCorp provides document and financial management, messaging, reporting, estimating, research, and technical support for clients and transferees.

Services: Corporateeducation, policy development, benchmarking, recruiting and retention, reporting, group moves, cost of living analysis. Departurecounseling, needs assessment, lease cancellation. Destinationcounseling, needs assessment, orientation, career assistance, dependant care, pet transport, rental, mortgage, purchasing, home value program, closing assistance. Globalmove manager, single booking agent, freight, audit process. Internationalpolicy consultation, candidate selection, visas, tax and Social Security, property management, transportation of goods.

Most Important Metric: Measurable service and financial improvements for each client every year.

 

9. TheMIGroup
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 10,375     
www.themigroup.com

This global relocation management company is supported by customized technology and systems, seasoned staff, and provides services that cover all aspects of both domestic and international relocation. TheMIGroup is owned by more than 40 members of the management team who provide involvement and personal commitment of the highest order.

Services: Domestic Relocationdomestic destination programs, real estate services, family assistance services, property management, expense administration; International Relocationsinternational destination programs, international moving, international risk management, international spousal career program, expense administration; Client Program Administration; Relocation Consulting. 

 

10. HEWITT RELOCATION SERVICES
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 10,000 
www.reloaction.com

2004 was the year of relocation M&AHewitt expanded their service offerings by acquiring Exult, who had acquired ReloAction the previous year. Hewitt prides itself on being a single-source contact for relocation; they are there from start to finish. Incorporating the ReloAction technology platform, Hewitt can deliver time and cost savings to their clients. The industry is actively waiting for what Hewitt can bring to the marketplace as they begin to expand their relocation services.

Services: Departuremarketing, market value purchase, home buyout. Destinationconsulting, home finding, renting, executive assistance, affordability analysis, mortgage. Administrationoutsourced administration, household goods management, temp living. Relocation Accounting (domestic)cost estimator, expense management, tax reporting, lump-sum administration, closing cost reimbursement, employee loan administration. Consulting (domestic)policy analysis, development, and review; group moves; training. Internationalpre-departure candidate assessment, cost estimate, work permit, home sale, cultural and language training, partner counseling. Otherongoing assignment support, repatriation, international consulting.

Most Important Metric: Transferee satisfaction.

 

11. PARAGON RELOCATION   RESOURCES
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 8,457   
www.paragonrri.com

Since their inception in 1987, Paragon has assisted more than 100,000 families with their domestic and global relocation services. They cover North America, Asia Pacific, and the EMEA region. Paragons relocation services include global mobility consulting services, domestic and international relocation, global assignment, group move management, and affinity programs.

Services: Program Administrationinternational and domestic relocation; global and short-term assignment; recruitment; relocation benefits; home marketing, sale, and finding; property management; mortgage; rental; temp living; spouse assistance; outplacement; transportation of household goods; travel management; tax program. Global Relocationassessment surveys, communications, program and relocation center development, supplier selection, staff augmentation, training, global business entry and expansion management. Group Moveorganization re-engineering, move planning, employee demographic study, communications, orientation, business continuity planning, facility move management.

Most Important Metric: Client-service metric that includes: expense-processing time; household goods claims rates (on-time delivery rates, insurance claim ratios); direct homesale costs; overall service to customer; and client service ratings.

 

12. EXCELLERATEHRO  (EDS & TOWERS PERRIN)
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 4,500   
www.excelleratehro.com

ExcellerateHRO is the jointly owned HR business of EDS and Towers Perrin. Its Relocation and Assignment Services assumes complete process management responsibility for an organizations relocation operations by helping transferees find the right home, appropriate schools, day and senior care, recreation opportunities, and spousal employment. In addition, they address any cross-cultural and cost-of-living issues that may arise in each transferees new location. The company also offers consulting teams and can reduce the costs associated with moving household goods as well as the tax liabilities created from reimbursement programs.

Services: Global Relocation Management and Technology Suiteprogram administration, supplier selection and management, employee counseling, departure and destination services, expense administration, household goods and property management, group move, vehicle assistance, student relocation. Global Assignmentassignment management, visa and immigration, intercultural services, spouse support, language training, tenancy management, transit insurance. Consultingglobal policy consulting, benchmark studies, trends report, M&A and joint ventures planning, group moves, global HR strategy, and workforce planning.

Most Important Metric: Transferee satisfaction.

 

13. CORNERSTONE RELOCATION
Annual number of Full Service Relocations: 4,500   
www.crgglobal.com

Delivering comprehensive relocation programs to corporations, employees, and their families since 1990.

Services: Consultingpolicy development and review, benchmarking, group move. Departurehome marketing, home sale. Destinationhome search, mortgage, temp living, rental, family assistance programs. Globalorientation, settlement services, home search, temp living, cultural and language training, consulting. Accounting expense management and tax reporting, funding, lump-sum administration, closing cost reimbursement. Administrationtransportation assistance and outsourced administration.

Most Important Metric: Client satisfaction and transferee satisfaction.

 

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HRO and the Coming Labor Shortage

The time to think about the future is now.

by Matt DeLuca

Hype or dire prediction, HR professionals everywhere should always be on the lookout for state-of-the-art opportunities to find great employees not only for the HR department but also for the entire organization. You may recall a reference in previous columns to HR Management in the Knowledge Economy and its identification of the four major roles of the HR professional. Here I will ask you to keep two rolesrelationship builder and rapid deployment specialistin mind.  

 

Robert J. Grossman, a professor at Marist College (a bastion of quantitative research), published an article in the March 2005 issue of HR Magazine that separates the hype from the dire predictions of the looming disparity between the demand and supply of the U.S. workforce. The research concludes that the media hype asserting that by 2012 there will be 10 million more jobs than people to fill them should not be a concern. Although he does conclude with a hypothesis that has already been haunting usdo we have enough talent for an increasingly demanding workplace? The answer is a resounding NO!

 

Do you recall how, during the late 1990s, people were hired by all kinds of fast-growth firms just because we need bodies? I do. I witnessed unsolicited resumes without interviews turned into hires just because they need to be hired now. I also recall organizations unable to get products to market because they could not find people with the skills required. After reading Grossmans article and reviewing the Bureau of Labor Statistics research upon which that article heavily relied, I am convinced that the talent pool respite we have had of late is sooner or later going to be replaced by a long brutal global war for talent. There is already pressure on the lowest level jobs.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently had a front page article about lettuce pickers in Arizonathere arent any. For one simple reason: The workers who used to do it have moved on to better paying jobs. This, to me, is a first link in the food chain (no pun intended). The ripple effect has already started.

 

So what does this have to do with HRO? As a relationship builder and rapid deployment specialist, the HR professional should be anticipating the scarcity of talentnot only in HR but also in the rest of the organization. Ongoing review of core versus commoditized activities should become part of the organizations DNA. External alternative sources to accomplish tasks, activities, and even entire functions should be on your radar screen so that they are continuously being evaluated in light of your organizations current and anticipated demands. Internally, you need to work closely with various key players to determine the climate and readiness for moving one or more additional activities to outside providers (or alternatively, determining if any should be brought back in-house.)

 

To test any and all assumptions, HR needs to be ever vigilant for opportunities to do the following:

* Enhance current service levels and relationships

*Identify additional potential avenues, including offshoring, for further exploration

*Ensure comprehensive due diligence and demonstrate your state-of-the-art knowledge about todays products and services

*Build a familiarity of best practices

*Identify the leading buyers and players (as well as those less so) in this ever-changing marketplace to determine who is doing what. Compare this years leading deals with last years. Recall last years players and major buyers. How are those deals doing? What has been learned? Are there any warning signs?

 

If we don’t find out what is and what isnt working, we are more likely to repeat the problems of these earlier adaptersbuyers and providers alike. If you spent some time at the 2005 HRO World conference in New York, you were able, in just a few hours, to test and update your knowledge base. Dont stop there. Feel guilty if you arent spending time weekly surveying the internal and external marketplace for contacts, information, relationships, and solutions. As Grossman warns, this process is not a quick turnaround andlet me addthe process is as important, if not more so, than any future, specific result. Besides, it is much more exciting to be part of the process, so why delay? Your organizations very survival is at stake.  

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Malvern Outsources Rollovers to RolloverSystems

Father of 401(k) Benna Touts Benefits to Plan Sponsors

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 26, 2005) RolloverSystems, Inc., the leader in technology-based rollover solutions, announced today the company will provide rollover distribution services, including automatic rollovers, for Malvern Benefits Corporation.

Malvern provides 401(k) retirement plan administration and record keeping services in an environment of open investment architecture free of bias toward any proprietary investment product. Malvern founder, Ted Benna, is the author of Tips for Successfully Managing Your 401(k) and 401(k) for Dummies. He is also widely known as "Father of the 401(k)."

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RWD Technologies and SkillsNET Form Partnership

Human Performance Solutions Weds Ability Expertise

BALTIMORE, MD April 26, 2005 RWD Technologies, Inc. (RWD), a Company that develops, implements, and supports products and services in the areas of training, consulting, and organizational performance, announced today that it has formed a partnership with  SkillsNET, a consulting company that identifies the best qualities of top workers and advises companies about ways to replicate those qualities throughout their supply chain

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Cap Gemini sells health practice for $175M to Accenture

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Cap Gemini on Thursday said it’s selling itshealth care project and consulting practice in the U.S. and Canada for$175 million to Accenture Ltd , as well as transfering 600 employees.The French IT group said the deal is part of its 400 million euro assetdisposal program announced September 2004. The French IT company willretain its outsourcing contracts with health care clients in the U.S.,as well as federal public sector health consulting capabilities in theU.S.

TALX Acquires Jon-Jay Associates, Expanding The Work Number and Tax Management Services

ST. LOUIS, MO (April 20, 2005) TALX Corporation (NASDAQ: TALX) today announced the acquisition of Jon-Jay Associates, which specializes in providing unemployment cost management services as well as an employment verification service.

Jon-Jay, headquartered in Boston, had revenues of approximately $8

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NY HR Week 2005 Trumps Expectations – Up 32% to 3710 Registered Attendees

HR Executives In Record Numbers Attend HR Conference —

Top Issues Include Outsourcing, Diversity, Benefits & Technology

Milford, CT,April 20, 2005 NY HR Weeks conference directors today released recordattendee totals for the 2005 NY HR Week held April 12-14, 2005 at the New YorkHilton, making it the nations second largest HR event. Registered attendeestotaled 3,710, with conference attendees numbering 706.  The totals represented a 32% increase overthe 2004 totals, and included a record 106 media attendees.

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PwC: Almost All Fast-Growth Companies Outsourcing HR Functions

PricewaterhouseCoopers Trendsetter Barometer interviewed CEOs of 360 privately held product and service companies identified in the media as being among the fastest growing U

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